Around 500,000 patients a year undergo back surgery. Despite the popularity of this treatment option, many doctors are not convinced. The hippocratic oath states that doctors should first “do no harm’, but back surgery is a procedure which can potentially do exactly that. It can leave the patient in a condition which is worse than prior to surgery. For this reason, back surgery should be considered a “last resort”.
Yet the number of back surgeries continues to rise. This article looks at 3 reasons why back surgery may not be the best solution for your back pain.
1. Back surgery can make matters worse!
A study by Dr. Gary Franklin showed that the return-to-work rate after spine fusion surgery in Washington state was only 15%. That’s right – 85% of patients were unable to return-to-work! This is a scary statistic.
Other doctors seems to support this:
“Once you’ve done a fusion, you’ve actually surgically assaulted the spine and the spine is stiff. It has scar tissue. The spine will often breakdown above and below the fusion and I’ve had people, we had one lady we operated on last week, that started out with a normal spine about seven years ago. She has had 10 operations. She is now fused from her neck to her pelvis. And she started breaking down, breaking down and we just spent 15 hours last week trying to get her spine straight again. She lost 15 units of blood. Society has probably spent over $3 million on her care. And she’s a train wreck. She’s not going to do well no matter what we do.”
2. Time out of action
Even if you do eventually return to work (or your regular pre-surgery activities), having back surgery is a major undertaking which can keep you sidelined for weeks, sometimes even months. This time off work is not just bad for the economy, but can lead to atrophy (loss of muscle) and a weakening of your body.
So before undergoing back surgery, it’s important to consider your post-operative program for how you’re going to get back to your pre-surgery condition. Diet and physical therapy can help, but the success of your surgery will be paramount.
3. There may be better non-surgical alternatives
Before going under the knife, you may want to consider some non-surgical alternatives. They may well be worth trying before resorting to back surgery. Non-surgical alternatives can be as simple as physical therapy or injections (read more about pain management in Miami), or they can be regenerative medicine treatment options, such as stem cell therapy, prolotherapy, and PRP.
Non-surgical treatment options have several advantages. First, they are non-invasive, which means that you will not have a lengthy recovery. Second, regenerative medicine uses the body’s own natural healing to promote recovery. Third, in the event that they do not work for your particular condition, then surgery still remains an option.
About GenLife Regenerative Medicine
At GenLife Regenerative Medicine, we understand that chronic pain goes beyond just the physical. It impacts the mental and emotional health of those suffering from pain, and those around them. To find out how you can start living your life without pain, contact Dr. Charles Mahl – our pain management doctor in Miami: (844) 859-7788 (toll free) or (305) 332-7234.